Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has been busy making moves to improve its chances of mobile domination.
The company announced plans to offer free or discounted data access to Facebook Messenger users on any browser-capable mobile device in 14 countries across the globe. Focused primarily in emerging markets, Facebook has clearly set its sights on increasing usage within some of its high-growth markets, which for the time being make up a small percentage of Facebook's total revenue. As of last quarter, only 23% of Facebook's revenue came from outside the U.S. and Western Europe.
Here's look at you, Google
Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) too, is after the next billion Internet users, which is why it launched the Google Free Zone late last year. Facebook seems to have taken a page out of the Free Zone's playbook, which offers free mobile Internet access to Google Search, Gmail, and Google Plus in three emerging-market countries. Overall, it's expected that 2 billion more Internet users will come online in the next three to five years, of which the vast majority will experience the web for the first time on a mobile device and are likely to live in emerging markets. Internet giants are laying down a solid foundation now for this new generation of Internet users as a way to build valuable mindshare over time.
Connecting the dots
Not only is Facebook going after emerging market growth in a big way, it's also teamed up with data companies Acxiom, Epsilon, and Datalogix, to begin connecting offline loyalty card activity to Facebook profiles by finding common data points between the two, like an email address or phone number. The goal here is to increase the effectiveness of advertising on mobile, while simultaneously improving the advertising experience for the user. If done correctly by keeping privacy concerns at bay, Facebook could be sitting on the highly coveted Holy Grail of mobile advertising.
Facebook's recent efforts continue to indicate that the company is fully embracing its future as a mobile company, despite the threat of cannibalization. The company has been hard at work bolstering its analytics suite in an effort to better show marketers that clicks are a worthless measurement. By simultaneously attacking both the highly profitable U.S. with connecting online and offline activity and the emerging growth story at the same time, it's become clear that Facebook is further along the path of proving its worth to investors.